Skip to main content

A Proud Possession

If I should start properly writing (including reviews) about books, which book should I start with? I thought it would be a tough hill to climb. That is until I saw the Bhagavad Gita. Or rather the few different commentaries of the Gita that I possess and I was no more bothered about finding a "first book" to write about.

I have not read the Gita in full yet. Hope to do it some day. Gita is for a lifetime study. It cannot be read and imbibed completely in one stretch. Many of the ideas illustrated in the Gita can be understood only if you have the relevant experiences, maturity, as well as the ability to process those thoughts.

The exact version of the Gita that I want to mark my beginning - auspiciously - is the Universal Message of the Bhagavad Gita - An Exposition of the Gita in the Light of Modern Thoughts and Modern Needs. It was transcribed and compiled from Swami Ranganathananda's "series of Sunday discourses, from 1988 to 1990, at the 1200-capacity Vivekananda Hall of the Ramakrishna Math, Hyderabad..."

The commentary is spread over three volumes. This was the first commentary of the Gita that I bought. I was then a graduate student at the Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda College, Chennai. I was interested in studying the Hindu scriptures and the most easily approachable text was the Bhagavad Gita.

Some close friends knew of my interest and suggested a few important commentaries. One of them was this. And it so happened that around this time Swami Ranganathananda passed away at the ripe age of 96. Tributes flowed and as I came to know more about him, I decided to buy a copy of the Universal Message of the Gita.

When I traveled to Bengaluru for post-graduate study, the Universal Message of the Gita accompanied me. My solitude was spent immersed in the ideas that these volumes revealed. In addition to the Gita being the best philosophical work ever composed, the personality who unveiled it was himself an astonishing individual. The fact that he was already 30 years old when the second world war started was fascinating. As someone who had lived through two world wars, Independence, partition and so many significant incidents of history, his experience spanned many generations. The might of those experiences and the wisdom received through them, Swami Ranganathananda promptly passes on to us through these volumes.

I was half way through the second volume when I finished my studies and returned home. I have since then bought four other commentaries, though I am yet to completely read through even one.


Popular posts from this blog

My New Love - The Learning Continues

I have had - and still have - quite a few loves in life.

Like that coffee, freshly brewed in the morning; the rain that pours at night, leaving the wet earth of dawn as the only evidence of her mysterious visits; Sunday mornings; the lights of the city on a weekend evening; an early morning train ride on a relatively empty MRTS; my Amar Chitra Katha collection; walking through the streets of Thirumylapuri - or Mylapore - to visit Kabali; an evening turning to night on the Bessy Beach - and the list goes on.

I now have another addition to this endless list of loves. She was selected after a lot of thought and discussion.

She is a Royal Enfield Himalayan - all of 411cc, a good amount of power and performance at my call, with just a twist of the throttle! The automotive forums are abuzz with a common theme - niggles and issues with the bike, as well as with Royal Enfield in general. However, there are an equal number of happy owners, who enjoy the bike as those with issues continue thei…

The After Effects of BJP Winning Uttar Pradesh

Importance of this huge UP mandate, and the ways in which it will spill over, beyond today's results.

Parliament and State Assemblies
BJP & NDA gain majority in both houses of the parliament. They are also in power, in about a dozen state assemblies. This will impact two issues.

Presidential ElectionsNarendra Modi and Amit Shah can comfortably appoint the person of their choice to be the next President.

In line with this, they can - the must - use the additional support to appoint the right people in key institutions - and I hope they go into serious detail, not just stopping with Governors and Chief Justices. We are in a dire need of replacement for those old fossil remnants of a foregone socialist era. The institutions needs a thorough spring cleaning, and dynamic, vibrant and dharmic personalities should be appointed to key positions. 

This is so, so crucial because all we have are self-important, dynasty loyalists, sitting in seats of influence, beginning from the supreme court…

Sri Ganesha Charanam!

अगजानन पद्मार्कम् गजाननम् अहर्निशम्।
अनेकदन्तम् भक्तानाम् एकदन्तम् उपास्महे॥
agajānana padmārkam gajānanam aharniśam|
anekadantam bhaktānām ekadantam upāsmahe|| What a beautiful verse to behold and listen! I heard it first when this verse was suggested as an invocation for our magazine Yuva Bharati by my brother a couple of years ago. (Yup! I promptly posted it on facebook - even social networks have been permeated by spirituality :-D)

A couple of months back, I had the good fortune to sit at the feet of Swami Dayananda Saraswati and learn this same verse - how to say it and its meaning. Recollecting that experience from memory, I'll try to share the beauty and the brilliance of this verse here.
ānana means face. Gajānana is the Lord who has the face of an elephant or gaja. On seeing the face of Gajānana, the face of Agaja, daughter of the king among mountains (aga), Himavan or Parvata, one who is called Himavati or Parvati, lightens up. This is so natural and open, like how a padma o…